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Professor David D. Troutt Edits “After the Storm” – Essays on Social, Policy & Legal Issues Raised by Hurricane Katrina

Rutgers Law scholar offers fresh perspectives on inequality in urban America

August 30, 2006 – 
That poor and largely black Americans were the primary victims of Hurricane Katrina did not surprise David Dante Troutt, Professor of Law at Rutgers School of Law–Newark. In both his scholarship and teaching, Troutt has long explored how racial and economic segregation have perpetuated inner-city poverty. But the staggering extent of the Katrina devastation, seen first-hand by Troutt during two trips to New Orleans, demanded a fresh examination of the national significance of the poverty and inequality revealed in the aftermath of the storm. The result, After the Storm: Black Intellectuals Explore the Meaning of Hurricane Katrina, is a book of wide-ranging essays edited by Troutt and just published by the New Press.

“What the nation saw in New Orleans,” said Troutt, “is the result of a decades-long effort to ensure the stability of middle-class communities by excluding the urban poor from the American dream. As a country we need to nurture both individual self-sufficiency and a more inclusive sense of community if our other cities with a predominantly poor and minority population are not to remain as vulnerable as New Orleans.” In addition to serving as editor, Troutt contributed “Many Thousands Gone, Again,” which describes the convergence of race, class, and space that proved so combustible under the weight of the storm. The essay deals with historical facts active in New Orleans that made its persistently poor neighborhoods vulnerable to sudden devastation in the same way that ghettoes across America fall prey to slow deaths. 

Among the book’s other contributors are the public intellectual Michael Eric Dyson of the University of Pennsylvania, Sheryll Cashin of Georgetown Law Center, Devon Carbado and Cheryl Harris of UCLA Law School, and Clement Price of Rutgers–Newark. The well-known Derrick Bell and Charles J. Ogletree Jr. wrote the foreword and introduction, respectively.

Professor Troutt earned his B.A. with distinction from Stanford University and his J.D. cum laude from Harvard Law School, where he served as executive editor of the Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review. As a lawyer, he practiced both public interest and corporate law, advocating on a broad range of areas including inner-city economic development, intellectual property, and commercial litigation. A member of the Rutgers faculty since 1995, he teaches Torts; Business Torts and Intellectual Property; Community Economic Development; and Race, Literature, and Critical Theory. Professor Troutt is the author of several law review articles as well as the book The Monkey Suit – And Other Short Fiction on African Americans and Justice and the forthcoming novel, The Importance of Being Dangerous.